Girls in the U.S. are now entering puberty as young as 7 years old. Half of African-American girls and 15 percent of Caucasian girls develop sexually by age 8. That means that young girls' bodies are maturing before a lot of them have even mastered riding a bicycle. Doctors and parents have good reason to be concerned. Early onset of puberty can lead to depression, short stature, stress, early sexual activity, and increased risk of breast cancer.
So what is causing girls to mature too early? Many doctors believe the hormones in meat and dairy products are to blame. Farmers give cows regular doses of growth hormones to make them grow as large as possible as quickly as possible. These hormones remain in the cows' tissues after they are slaughtered and also pass into their milk, and they are, in turn, ingested by people who consume those products.
Cows are pumped with hormones in order to force them to produce much more milk than is natural.
The best way to avoid hormone overload is to pass on hormone-laden animal products and fill your body with healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Then the only side effects you'll experience are easy weight management and lower risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Not a bad trade-off.
Written by Michelle Sherrow